Dear community,Thank you so much for stopping by! It has been my dream and a goal of mine to have a place where important and potentially life-saving information can be shared. This is why I started this blog. I hope you have found the information to be helpful for yourself or a loved one, and have been able to share with anyone who may benefit from it. Please continue to stop by and share. Over the next 10 business days I will be practicing some self-care by spending time visiting my family out of state. My plan is to resume posting 10/9/17 Until then, be well.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Veterans Resource Guide
These resources focus on PTSD as a result of combat or military exposure. Many voices are calling for the church to be a significant partner in the complex readjustment process of returning home.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after one has been through a traumatic event. The resources on this page focus on PTSD as a result of combat or military exposure.
Recent reports indicate that one of the major consequences of all warfare is PTSD. Some studies indicate that as many as 18% of returning combat veterans struggle with some significant mental health issues. Department of Defense medical authorities now estimate that as many as 30% of returning Army Reserve and Guard members struggle with such issues four to six months after returning.
Many voices are calling for the church to be a significant partner in the complex readjustment process of returning home. Leaders now tell us that awareness of this need should be heightened, and we can prepare to more effectively walk with a veteran who is making the transition home from war. Those who understand the need advise: become informed, pay attention to what is happening, avoid judging the veteran, gently shepherd the veteran to resources available, and hold them in love.
These materials are provided to enable the church and families to be more alert to the needs of veterans and to understand how to help.
- My Refuge and Strength – Psalm 46
- The God of Healing – 2 Kings 5
- What A Friend We Have in Jesus – Isaiah 61, Matthew 11
- Worship service idea from Reformed Worship
- Hymns focused on healing
- Guiding Questions for Planning a Service of Worship During a Time of War
O God, you are the one who looks way down deep inside of all of us. You see and know what no one knows, no one at all except we ourselves. And, not only do you see us and know us, but you also feel things along with us, even the very painful stuff, the deep stuff along with us, and we feel a strange kind of healing taking place. For it’s like you care and you understand…and we’re no longer left alone with our burdens.
Today, those of us who are struggling inside—who’ve been broken and hurt and still feel the tears within—we thank you for being there and sharing with us what we cannot bear alone.
– from a prayer by VA Chaplain Richard A. Lutz
Base Camp Hope is a faith-based 501(c)3 multi-functional therapeutic facility that helps veterans, service members and their families cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other re-integration issues.
BCH is committed to educating veterans and the community about PTSD, using creative and alternative methods to aid our American heroes and in building a strong support system for broken families in need of restoration.
Since opening its doors, Base Camp Hope has lived up to its mission by establishing core values, providing quality services and treating each client with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Mission: H.E.R.O.E.S. Care provides coordinated support for military members and their families before, during, and after deployment in the communities where they live through specially trained caregivers.
Results: Since 2003, over 150,000 military members and their families have received material, financial and other support through our network of volunteers and specially trained caregivers
Target demographics: Military Families in Genuine Need.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Each year H.E.R.O.E.S. Care provides real and meaningful support for more than 50,000 military families.
Geographic areas served: National
Programs: The H.E.R.O.E.S. Care Hometown Support Program is an affiliation of program partners working together to provide one-on-one dedicated care for military families in the communities where they live. A specially trained, gender matched volunteer is assigned to a primary care receiver or PCR (spouse/significant other/other adult family member) designated by the deploying service member. This Hometown Support Volunteer (HSV) monitors the family situation and coordinates community support. The HSV also has dedicated access to national organizations that can provide for financial needs and job placement services. The HSV is specially trained to detect the need for professional mental health care and can refer the PCR to the affiliated partner organization to intervene.All of this care begins before deployment, continues through deployment, and up to two years post deployment at the discretion of the family. There are no contracts to sign and all services are free of charge.
Suicide among military veterans is especially high in the western U.S. and rural areas, according to new government data that show wide state-by-state disparities and suggest social isolation, gun ownership and access to health care may be factors.
The figures released Friday are the first-ever Department of Veterans Affairs data on suicide by state. It shows Montana, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico had the highest rates of veteran suicide as of 2014, the most current VA data available. Veterans in big chunks of those states must drive 70 miles or more to reach the nearest VA medical center.
The suicide rates in those four states stood at 60 per 100,000 individuals or higher, far above the national veteran suicide rate of 38.4.
The overall rate in the West was 45.5. All other regions of the country had rates below the national rate.
Other states with high veteran suicide rates, including West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, had greater levels of prescription drug use, including opioids. A VA study last year found veterans who received the highest doses of opioid painkillers were more than twice as likely to die by suicide compared to those receiving the lowest doses.
The latest VA data also reaffirmed sharp demographic differences: Women veterans are at much greater risk, with their suicide rate 2.5 times higher than for female civilians. Among men, the risk was 19 percent higher among veterans compared to civilians. As a whole, older veterans make up most military suicides — roughly 65 percent were age 50 or older.
“This report is huge,” said Rajeev Ramchand, an epidemiologist who studies suicide for the RAND Corp. He noted that the suicide rate is higher for veterans than non-veterans in every single state by at least 1.5 times, suggesting unique problems faced by former service members. “No state is immune.”
Ramchand said it was hard to pinpoint specific causes behind veteran suicide but likely involved factors more prevalent in rural areas, such as social isolation, limited health care access, gun ownership and opioid addiction. Nationally, 70 percent of the veterans who take their lives had not previously been connected to VA care.
“This requires closer investigation into why suicide rates by veteran status are higher, including the role that opiates play,” Ramchand said.
The dataset offers more detailed breakdowns on national figures released last year, which found that 20 veterans a day committed suicide. The numbers come from the largest study undertaken of veterans’ records by the VA, part of a government effort to uncover fresh information about where to direct resources and identify veterans most at-risk.
The department has been examining ways to boost suicide prevention efforts.
“These findings are deeply concerning, which is why I made suicide prevention my top clinical priority,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin. “This is a national public health issue.”
Shulkin, who has worked to provide same-day mental health care at VA medical centers, recently expanded emergency mental care to veterans with other than honorable discharges. The department is also boosting its suicide hotline and expanding telehealth options.
Ret. Army Sgt. Shawn Jones, executive director of Stop Soldier Suicide, said veterans suicide is an issue that needs greater awareness to provide community support for those in need. Transitioning back to civilian life can be difficult for active-duty members who may return home with physical and mental conditions and feel unable to open up to friends or families. As a result, some veterans can feel overwhelmed by daily challenges of finding a job, buying a home and supporting a family.
“It can be tough because the military is a close-knit community and you have that familial feel,” Jones said. “As you transition out, you tend to lose that a little bit and feel like an island onto yourself.”
The attention on veteran suicide comes at a time when the VA has reported a huge upswing in veterans seeking medical care as they have returned from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Veterans’ groups say the latest data may raise questions about the department’s push to expand private-sector care.
“Veterans often have more complex injuries,” said Allison Jaslow, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, citing limitations if civilian doctors don’t understand the unique challenges of the veterans’ population. If doctors don’t ask the right questions to a veteran complaining of back pain, for instance, they may prescribe opioids not realizing the veteran was also suffering PTSD or brain injury after being blown up in a humvee, said Jaslow, a former Army captain.
Expanding private-sector care and stemming veterans’ suicide are priorities of President Donald Trump. In a statement this week as part of Suicide Prevention Month, Trump said the U.S. “must do more” to help mentally troubled veterans.
Mission: Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. In 2007, 1stLt Travis Manion (USMC) was killed in Iraq while saving his wounded teammates. Today, Travis’ legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, “If Not Me, Then Who…” Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities, and thrive in their post-military lives. As a result, communities prosper and the character of our nation’s heroes live on in the next generation.
Target demographics: Veterans, families of the fallen, and our nation’s youth.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 150,000+ YOUNG ADULTS, 60,000+ VETERANS & SURVIVORS, and 4,000+ VOLUNTEERS
Geographic areas served: We are a national foundation.
Programs: THE TRAVIS MANION FOUNDATION (TMF) EMPOWERS VETERANS AND THE FAMILIES OF FALLEN HEROES TO DEVELOP CHARACTER IN FUTURE GENERATIONS. IN 2007, 1ST LT TRAVIS MANION (USMC) WAS KILLED IN IRAQ WHILE SAVING HIS WOUNDED TEAMMATES. TODAY, TRAVIS’ LEGACY LIVES ON IN THE WORDS HE SPOKE BEFORE LEAVING FOR HIS FINAL DEPLOYMENT, “IF NOT ME, THEN WHO…”